How to Change a Car Battery

Step 1: Items You Will Need
  • 1 new battery
  • lithium grease or lithium soap
  • 1 adjustable wrench
  • 1 PIN memory keeper
  • 1 wire brush
  • 1 pair of safety goggles
  • 1 pair of rubber gloves

  • Do not light cigarettes while around the battery and handle the battery in an open, ventilated area. Keep away from flames, sparks or anything that could ignite an explosion.

Step 3: Place Yourself In a Safe Work Area
  • Create a safe work area by stationing the vehicle away from other cars or trucks and keep the vehicle on an even plane away from potentially flammable materials.
  • Make sure the vehicle is off and in park for automatic vehicles and first gear for manual vehicles.

Step 4: Be Advised!
  • Use a memory stick or hard drive to store information from your car’s electronics.
  • When the battery is unhooked from the vehicle, all codes and settings for radios and navigation systems will be lost.
  • Plug the memory stick or hard drive into the vehicle’s power outlet or cigarette lighter.
  • In the event that you do not have a memory device, write down all PIN numbers and instructions on restarting electronics. The vehicle manual can tell you what devices will be disconnected.

Step 5: Pop the Hood
  • Pull the hood release inside the car.
  • With your finger, open the catch and open the hood all the way.
  • Use the prop rod inside the hood to keep the hood from closing.

Step 6: Find the battery in the engine
  • When the hood is propped open properly, locate the battery by searching the frame of the engine. The battery is usually rectangular in shape with the two positive and negative terminals.

Step 7: Identify the Positive and Negative Battery Terminals
  • On top of the battery, look for the plus sign (positive) and the minus sign (negative) in order to determine which terminal is which.
  • On most batteries, the positive terminal is larger with a red wire while the negative terminal is smaller in size and has a black/blue wire connecting it to the vehicle.

Step 8: Unhook the Negative Terminal
  • Put on safety goggles and gloves.
  • Beginning with the negative terminal, disconnect the black/blue wire from the vehicle in order to prevent a short circuit. The negative terminal is connected to the vehicle’s chassis and must be disconnected first and reconnected last.

Step 9: Unhook the Positive Terminal
  • Disconnect the battery’s red wire from the vehicle.

  • Avoid connected the two terminals together. Never allow anything metallic to come in contact with the battery because the metal may connect the two terminals and the battery will burn out.

Step 11: Remove the Old Car Battery
  • Remove all screws and bolts from the battery holder and store those parts together in a safe place.
  • With much care, lift the battery out of the vehicle and dispose of the battery at a proper recycling facility. Never dispose of batteries in normal trash.

Step 12: Replace Battery
  • Place the new battery in the battery holder and use the nuts and bolts to fasten the new battery to the battery holder.

Step 13: Connect the Positive Terminal of the New Battery
  • Check the positive terminal cable for debris, corrosion or dirt and clean it with a brush. Use the wrench to reconnect the red wire to the positive terminal.

Step 14: Connect the Negative Terminal of the New Battery
  • With the wrench, tighten the black or blue wire to the negative terminal of the battery.

Step 15: Finish With Lithium Grease/Soap
  • Spray or apply lithium grease/soap to the battery terminals to prevent corrosion. Use care with the grease and try not to get the grease on any other part of the engine.

Step 16: Shut the Hood
  • Close the hood and start the vehicle.
  • Make sure all electronics are working. Use any necessary PIN codes to restart electronics.